The Connection Of Loneliness And Depression

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Loneliness goes hand in hand with depression, a mental illness that causes a person’s brain to function differently than the average person. Thousands of people face loneliness and depression within their daily lives and are forced to cope with them and learn how to manage their emotions. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein portrays an excellent example of how loneliness and depression can easily shift a person’s mind. In the novel, Dr. Frankenstein performed an experiment to bring life to a body, which ultimately ended up in a world full of loneliness due to abandonment. The Creature from Frankenstein was affected by both loneliness and depression in many cases throughout the plot, and many times showed hatred, violence, and isolation from the rest of the world. Loneliness and depression lead to an anxious mindset that will result in social isolation and violence with others.

Each person has their own interpretation of loneliness. It may be caused by a certain individual, group of people, or a bad experience. In the article, “The Health Consequences of Loneliness,” Kendra Cherry wrote, “Loneliness is a universal human emotion that is both complex and unique to each individual.” As a result of there being multiple meanings of loneliness, there are many effects that could be seen. Oftentimes, decision-making is a place where lonely people struggle because “A lonely mind takes time to make decisions and struggles to properly function”(The Health Consequences of Loneliness). This explains that a person who feels lonely will process information, unlike the average person. These decisions include day-to-day tasks that seem to take no thought, although a lonely person may struggle because of the way their brain functions. Along with struggling to make decisions, human interaction is another place of struggle for many lonely individuals. Cherry wrote, “People who are lonely often crave human contact, but their state of mind makes it more difficult to form connections with other people”(The Health Consequences of Loneliness). Although a person may want to receive attention, their lonely state does not allow them to comprehend the want, leaving them alone. Loneliness can cause further mental disorders and struggles.

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Depression is one of the many mental illnesses that generally follows loneliness. When a person is depressed, they react to certain situations in a different way than those around them. In the article, “Depression and Anger: Is There a Connection?” Jerusha Parker Gordon stated a few of the symptoms of depression, including “…anger, feelings of confusion, sadness, or hopelessness.” Depression tends to result in rage and confused feelings for many people. Similar to how loneliness affects the brain, depression causes a person’s brain to function differently. It is hard for many people to understand their depressed feelings because they may not process information and have the same reactions as those around them. Depression causes a person’s brain to incorrectly process difficult situations or circumstances, resulting in insufficient decisions. The mental effects of depression do not only affect the person with the illness but often times others around them.

Many instances of depression and loneliness can be seen in Frankenstein. The Creature, who was abandoned after being created, felt, “solitary and abhorred”(Shelley 82). After being treated like a monster by the humans around him, the Creature felt like he was living in his own world, with nobody there for him. His strong feelings of loneliness drove him into madness. The Creature began to use violence with those around him and affected many other people’s lives as well as his own. The Creature showed signs of depression when he wondered, “Why did I live? Why, in that instant, did I not extinguish the spark of cursed existence which you had so wantonly bestowed?”(Shelley 86). He felt depressed and it led him to seek revenge on Victor, his creator because he perceived him as the main cause of his depression. In Kendra Cherry’s article, she wrote, “high levels of loneliness are associated with physical health symptoms, living alone”(The Health Consequences of Loneliness). Frankenstein lived in his own world because he was different than everyone else. Loneliness can cause a person to feel like they are isolated from the rest of the world.

When a person faces depression, certain triggers cause them to get angry and express their depressive emotions. Jerusha Parker Gordon wrote, “episodes of anger are triggered by specific situations or people,”(Depression and Anger: Is There a Connection). which explains that some things will make a person upset due to a previous experience or bad memory. Depression tends to cause a person to connect and communicate with others in a different way. When a trigger is seen by a depressed person, they might lash out in anger or violence. In Nancy L Galambos, Matthew D Johnson, and Harvey J Krahn’s article “The Anger-Depression Connection,” it was found that “when individuals’ deviation from their usual level of expressed anger was higher, their depressive symptoms were also higher than usual.” This proves that many depressed people tend to express their emotions through anger and other forms of violence. More data from the same article portrays the “plausibility of depressive symptoms→expressed anger”(The Anger-Depression Connection). This again proves that a common effect of depression is anger and irritability.

Aggression and violence are common ways for people to express the anger brought on by their depression. Jerusha Parker Gordon wrote, “People who experience anger and depression may suppress their feelings of anger.”(Depression and Anger: Is There a Connection). Such as how the Creature in Frankenstein did, many people experiencing depression use aggression as their outlet to express their feelings. “They may be more likely to display their anger through aggression or even violence toward a loved one” Sometimes, depressed people can hit such a deep place of anger that they would be violent with someone they love. Going back to how depression affects the way a person’s brain functions, they can make poor decisions that they do not really mean. The article, “The Anger–Depression Connection” states that “Items pertaining to angry feelings, temperamental outbursts, and yelling or fighting are common in anger expression scales.” People who experience depression tend to feel more stressed and lash out from a small incident. It has been found that depressed people got into more fights and showed more aggression than the average person.

Along with aggression and violence, another effect that follows loneliness and depression is social isolation. In the article “Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Their Relationships With Depressive Symptoms,” Lixia Ge, Chun Wei Yap, Reuben Ong, and Bee Hoon Heng found a “ significant overlap between loneliness and social isolation.” According to the findings of their research and experiments, loneliness promotes social isolation and further mental struggles. In the same experiment, they found that “those who were more isolated had higher depressive symptom scores.” Isolation is a way for some people to handle their emotions, rather than expressing them violently like others around them. The same researchers noticed “social isolation…rather than marital status or living arrangements, plays a predominant role in the association with depressive symptoms.” The feeling of being alone builds up to a point where many people incline toward isolation, as they assume that is the only way to express their emotions. It is believed that “social isolation is not simply a function of the amount or format of social connectedness.” This means, similarly to loneliness in general, isolation is different for each individual and can be measured at different levels.

Aggression and isolation are both effects that the Creature from Frankenstein faces during the novel. The Creature’s depression led him to make bad decisions, as he explained when he said, “I am malicious because I am miserable”(Shelley 92). The Creature’s miserable mindset and loneliness in life allowed his brain to make decisions that hurt other people. The Creature also expressed a plethora of self-doubt, as he felt like he was living “in a state of utter and stupid despair”(Shelley 87). These depressive episodes that he faced eventually led him to use violence against other people as his outlet. Isolation is seen when the Creature realized he “had never yet seen a being resembling me…What was I?”(Shelley 74). The Creature knew he was different than the people around him, so he isolated himself from them. He experienced both violence and isolation as effects of his mental illness.

Loneliness and depression shift one’s brain into having a different way of expressing how one feels. Social isolation and violence are the ultimate effects of loneliness and depression. These are clear examples of the effects of loneliness and depression when looking at the Creature from Frankenstein. In the real world, people struggle with mental illnesses in their day-to-day life, constantly trying to cope with their emotions.  

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